In some parts of the country, Halloween is becoming an endangered holiday. Trinity Church in New York City is cancelling its popular Halloween Fest due to Occupy Wall Street campers near the church. The police department in Knoxville, TN cancelled its Halloween in the City event because they can’t find a venue big enough to hold all the kids who want to attend. Calabash, NC cancelled its children’s mystery dinner on Halloween due to lack of funds. Several elementary schools are eliminating costume parties that have been popular for many years. Various reasons threaten the holiday at many locations around the country.
This isn’t the first time. Back in the early seventies, rumors—and accurate reports—of poisoned candy circulated, causing parents to keep their little goblins indoors or allowing them only to trick-or-treat to the homes of family members. Most such stories turned out to be hoaxes or isolated incidents, but Halloween suffered for a while many years.
But is Halloween really on the way out? Plenty of communities still plan to go all out to celebrate Halloween this year. Costumes, candy, parties and trick-or-treating…how about your community or neighborhood? Has Halloween been cancelled or is it still going strong?
Now my books don’t have much to do with Halloween (yet). But I do think I spin a good ghost story that’s perfect for the season. For example my EPPIE award winning novel Final Words has plenty of spirits and spooky scenes to have you looking over your shoulder as you read it.
A near-fatal hit-and-run leaves Medical Examiner Emma St. Clair able to talk to the spirits of people she autopsies. With his sister’s hit-and-run death unsolved, Detective Jason MacKenzie vows to bring this lethal driver to justice. When a serial killer throws them together, will her ability to talk to ghosts prove deadly…in love and life?
Here’s an excerpt:
A chill breathed over Emma’s skin as Skitch left. Looking down at this body as she had stood looking at so many others, she experienced a sense of unreality. She wouldn’t have been surprised if the woman had opened the one eye left to her and spoken.
This is exactly what Edgar hinted might happen. She closed her eyes as another wave of dizziness swept over her. She reached out to steady herself against the table and her gloved fingers brushed the arm of the dead woman.
Emma’s eyes popped open. Feminine and faint, the voice shimmied up her spine.
“I wanted to watch that hospital show,” the voice went on. “I always watch that hospital show on Monday night.”
Looking up, Emma saw a woman standing in the shadows near the cooler room door. Her features were difficult to make out in the dimness, so Emma lifted her face shield. It didn’t help.
“Jaime wanted to watch that silly game. ‘Here now,’ I said to him, ‘I watch my hospital show on Monday night’.” The woman’s voice quivered with age. She sounded Hispanic.
Emma narrowed her eyes, taking in the woman’s white cotton housedress and slippers. This isn’t one of the new technicians, she realized.
The woman gestured toward the body. “Jaime did this.”
Shaking off her surprise, Emma moved forward. “Ma’am, you can’t be in here.”
“I had to tell you about Jaime. My brother. He shot me and ran out the back.”
Tiny hairs on Emma’s arms prickled beneath the sleeves of her lab coat. She stopped near the middle autopsy station and studied the other woman’s form again. Small and slight, the figure seemed almost a part of the shadows and, somehow, not quite right. Emma wished that Skitch would return.
“Ma’am, you really have to leave,” she said.
“Here now, young lady.” The woman’s voice shook again, as if she couldn’t quite catch her breath. “I had to tell you what my brother did.”
Emma’s gaze ran over the shadowed form. “You said your brother shot you. Are you hurt? Shall I have someone take you to a hospital?”
“I’m getting tired but I do not hurt, Dr. St. Clair.”
Emma caught her breath. “You know my name?”
The woman stepped forward at last, into the pale light.
Bile welled in the back of Emma’s throat. That face. The woman’s face, lined with age and as dry and pale as paper, stared at her with dark eyes.
Emma jerked around and looked at the body on the table.
“You’re…” Words wedged their way past the bile in Emma’s throat. “You’re her."
When Emma turned back, the space in front of the cooler room door was empty. The woman had vanished.
You can order Final Words by Teri Thackston for only $1.49 at the following:Ellora’s Cave
Barnes & Noble